What an evening!
We received reports that the two strays were being abused by local young adults, between 17 and 25 year old idiots decided that chasing, kicking and hurling stones at them was entertaining. Undoubtedly the same kind of people who think that glaring at their feet will make them taller.
When we arrived at the car park the cats were nowhere to be seen. No response to calling, no sign of them eating the previous nights food offerings. The den they'd made was full of random items that weren't there previously - take out coffee cups, lumps of concrete.
My heart ached for the duo - they're just trying to survive, not making a nuisance of themselves, staying out of the way, not even going near the restaurant or garage to get scraps when they were seen. Human scum is human scum I guess. We walked the main road verges, just in case either one of them had been chased onto the road and the worst had happened... no sign of them there, that was good!
Walking back, taking our time, calling out as we had on previous nights, Adam caught a glimpse of Nugget hiding in a different, much more dense bush, closer inspection showed that Mac was there too, her back turned to us, no interest.
I headed to the car to retrieve some food (pilchards) and some cat food (cat food lol - that stuff isn't cheap! They eat better than me and are strays!). Ad took the food to the bush and started throwing small morsels in, I placed the pilchards in the cage, and we waited.
About 30 mins later I walked away, back to the car, we'd brought rope to manually trigger the trap, string in case the rope was too obvious, and lots of small things like bottles of water, scissors, extra fleece blankets to cover the cage if they were caught.
Our prime objective at this time was Nugget, Mac would wait around until Nugget was safe, so all of my attention was on that fact and that alone when I saw little Nugget dive into the cage and ravenously attack the pilchards.
No time for longer rope/string, I had to get to the cage and close the door before the kitten realised. BANG! Door slams closed, lock applied... Nugget explodes into fiery demon cat rage. Fleece draped over. Walk away until the nuclear fall out has subsided - looking at the venom in Nugget's eyes, I was predicting about 5 or 6 hundred years or so.
Elated, we start the process of getting Mac - of course we can't open the cage to pop her inside, Nugget had convinced me that any attempt to touch the cage would cost me, finger count would fall sharply - imagine the banking crisis, but with fingers. She was doing a pretty good impersonation of a power ball in a tumble dryer. We needed a plan.
- Coax Mac close with whatever method
- Grab Mac. Say goodbye to all extremities
- Adam picks up Nugget's cage and places in the rear of the car.
- Adam closes the boot lid.
- Adam opens the rear passenger door
- I climb into rear seat with whatever remaining extremities I have
- Adam closes the door
- Adam climbs into the front passenger seat and closes the door.
- I release Mac in clear view of the cage with Nugget in
- Happy reunion, both cats decide to go into the cage together, disney end scene music plays and a deep voice narrates, "Although the costs were high, Curt was proud to have helped this duo, as he lay, with no eyes, arms, ears, legs, nipples or anything at all really, just a head barely attached to a torso, he sighed happily. And they all... except Curt... lived happily ever after.
Great plan. We rehearsed animatedly at the car. Ad showing immense capacity for speed, urgency and commitment to the cause. Me wondering whether the coffee was better than the hot chocolate today. "Before we do this, I think we'll need a little while for mummy to realise that baby isn't hurt. Do you want to go grab coffee while I keep watch?"
15 seconds after Adam jogged away, Mac wandered from the bush, looked at me, looked at the can of cat food in my hand and meowed. Typical. I'd need to stall her. A conversation about the merits of cat food over insects, birds, rats and happy meals ensued.
Now crouching beside mummy, a can of food in my hand, her eagerly eating from it, Adam returned, placed the coffee cups on the roof of the car, opened the boot and waited for his cue.
I grabbed Mac, she grabbed me, it was like a scene from Titanic, "I won't let go Mac... I promise... [sniff] I won't let go"
Teeth found my hand, claws found my everything... Adam sprinted in slow motion past me to the cage, he reached down in an action that appeared to take about 45 minutes and a few seconds as Mac found that she could reach my right hand through my left arm if she just bit a little harder, clawed a little bit deeper. One cat shaped object now had ninety-three legs, forty-two heads and more teeth than the entire animatronic collection from Stephen Spielberg's entire back catalog.
Adam hefted the cage... that took about 25 minutes. Mac, by this time, was proving the theories of Einstein - by moving fast enough, she stayed young, agile, and invisible to those of use moving at normal speed... somehow she clawed the back of my head, my chest, my armpit, my leg, a third of the population of McDonalds, the international space station and managed to break two Infinity Stones. In that same time period I think I manage to twitch an eyelid.... and aged 37 years.
Adam briskly moved the cage into the rear of the car. Briskly - another sixteen months passed. I'm sure I felt teeth on bone, Mac was now content with the hold she had on me, and whilst looking me dead in the eyes, committed every muscle fiber to turning me into a casserole. Interesting fact: the amount of terror instilled into the victim of an angry cat is directly proportional to the size of their eyes as they sink claws deeper into your heart.
The boot lid closed, rear passenger door opened.... I shuffled in on one leg, using my elbow to drag me along, I think it was my elbow, but momentarily I did actually think it was the ragged stump that remained of my arm.
The front passenger door opened, closed. "Ready Ad?" I hoarsely whispered?
"Yeah!" He said confidently. I released Mac.
Now picture the scene. 2 humans. One kitten, caged, eating pilchards and not really giving a damn about the rest of the world. One highly volatile cat, with 96 legs, 14 heads, 82 million teeth and four times as many claws.
Lets change this up.
Imagine, a goldfish bowl... you're in the goldfish bowl... it's a bigger than normal goldfish bowl. you're covered in blood, gore, and carrying a sign that says, "Jaws was a pussy!"
Also in the goldfish bowl is the biggest, hungriest and most stoned shark you ever saw. This shark has the munchies so bad.... and you're the only food in the bowl.
Now imagine blindfolding yourself, and just for kicks, imagine that you're wearing a 1980's crop top as your pants, sunglasses with windscreen wipers on, and bright yellow crocs.
I let Mac go, and I felt as stupid as you look in that bowl... we had missed step 3.5 from the plan!!! (Adam removes the fleece from the cage so mummy can see baby and knows she hasn't left her behind.)
If you imagine just for a moment what it looks like in the CERN project when 2 particles collide... well I think I know what it looks like. It looks like a terrified mother cat, trapped in a goldfish bowl with 2 humans who appear to have gone from your besties to your mortal enemy, determined to remove you from your baby who you have almost died day after day to protect. She bounced off every window, every door, Adam pulled the hood of his hoody over his head and ducked, I pulled myself back against the door and feared for her life, my life, and if she escaped, the lives of everyone in a 10 mile radius.
I yanked the fleece up from the cage, Nugget stopped eating for a second to glare at me. Mac continued bouncing, claws set to kill... We waited. Coffee still on the roof of the car. Oh how I needed that coffee.
Mac yowled, crawled under the passenger front seat and stopped. We waited. I called, "Baby kitty" at Nugget, hoping she would do her normal quiet meow, she just looked at me. Mum, however, responded, first by peeing on my floor, then by crawling onto my knee, looking past me at the cage and lighting up as she bounced to the door.
As expected, Nugget didn't like humans, so when I reached in to open the door she backed into a corner quickly, allowing Mac to enter, curl up with her, and start cleaning her. (if Nugget is a her, we haven't gotten that close yet).
I closed the door, pulled the fleece down, stepped out of the car, and started checking myself for missing pieces, not too bad at all, some deep gouges,some very long rakes (she got me THROUGH my leather jacket), Teeth marks between my fingers. When was my last tetanus?
Coffee's consumed, during which time I realised I stank of pee... yay! Big Mac and Chicken Nugget were safe, and we were headed home. Now what? TBC.